Mister, Mister

I didn’t know him personally.

I didn’t really follow his career.

I’m not sure I ever even saw him in person.

Yet he was close to my heart, dear to me.

And my heart aches with surprising pains.

He was a constant in my life.

And constancy is wonderful in a world of ups and downs.

Kind of like the Eiffel Tower, or Canada – whether I visit them or not, I can always know that they are there, being the lovely things that they are, and people will share with me about them from time to time, their names popping round regularly, as though just to say, “Hi.”

That’s he he has been in my life.

As my dad pointed out, he was an up and coming name when I was first beginning to know and understand the existence of professional sports and the NBA…, so he really has been a constant for almost my entire life.

No, he wasn’t quite to the level of constancy as Hakeem Olajuwon or Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neal, but he arrived to the scene only shortly after I had learned to love them, and so he holds a similar place in my life.

Like I said, he has been a constant for me.

He simultaneously seems so old, because he had already retired from playing a few years ago (2016?), yet so young, because he is only 41 years old (I believe he was drafted at only 18 years old).

His story has been magical, and his playing was beautiful.

And, just saying, his smile has always been spectacular.

God, thank you for the glorious gift that has been Kobe Bryant to our world.

Thank you for all you’ve done, Mr. Kobe Bryant.

Post-a-day 2020

Friday Night Lights…?

Q: What are you doing on this fine, crisp, beautiful Friday night?

A: Sitting on the floor at home, filing my next set of aligners (for teeth, like Invisalign), contemplating life…

Truly, I am…

I had two big things today… one was a total win, and the other is something I would like to call a win, but which doesn’t quite feel like one yet…

The first, it was great(!).

It happened this morning (well, noon-ish, really) at the gym.

For the first time e-v-e-r, I took off my shirt in public.

Okay, except for the time at the topless beach in Barcelona, but that is a totally different situation…. and all the times at the onsen in Japan… again, totally different situation.

This today was during the workout at the gym, when I experienced my long-sleeve shirt to be too much in the middle of the workout… I had contemplated losing it at the same time as the gorgeous latinos were ditching their shirts early on – aka my favorite time of the workout – but was not ready for it, nor desperate enough for it.

However, on the last two of seven rounds of fast squats and burpees (as fast as was sustainable), I had hit the limit of caring about how I might come across to others and how much I wanted not to be wearing my long-sleeve shirt anymore.

I mean, I had even considered how I wanted to lose my pants/leggings, but I didn’t have shorts with me, so the shirt was kind of the only thing I was willing and able to lose without being too ridiculous, even for my own standards… I mean, this was public, not home (and we all know I go without pants at home quite often… like right now, even), so pants needed to stay on.

Anyway, I ditched the shirt, stayed present with myself and my intention of improving my efforts and performance in the workout by having removed my shirt, and I did just that: improved my performance in the workout.

And I wasn’t embarrassed when the guys encouraged me in my workout, but actually encouraged.

And it was kind of totally no big deal that I had no shirt on.

And that was wonderful and absolutely beautiful.

And, though the whole experience was new and slightly uneasy for me, I was comfortable… and that was great.

What’s more, after I had grown comfortable with this all, and the workout was finished, I did a brief evaluation in front of the bathroom mirror…, and I discovered that I not only wouldn’t have been bothered by seeing another female in my physical condition shirtless, but I would have even approved it as quality enough to show off comfortably in other settings – aka though it isn’t required for being shirtless, I look fit enough to show it off, which is a whole ‘nother win for myself today.

I was comfortable and confident enough to ditch the shirt, and I am at a fitness level that I’m even a bit proud of how I look…. I already have been proud of how hard I have been working in these past several months, but today I got to be proud specifically of how I look from all of that work… which is a wonderful little bonus to all the rest. 🙂

So, that was awesome.

Now, the second thing was kind of total suck…

I was told, after practice today, that blah-blah-blah I am not allowed to coach the boys anymore… and not by any fault of my own, mind you… administrative blah-blah-blah was the declaration.

Based on many other events that have happened since… well, over the past while…, it definitely didn’t feel like that was the reason, and I definitely, for the first time in my life, could relate to the desire of throwing a flaming bag of s*** on someone’s front porch – dog, not human, because human would be just too much… eew… anyway…

Naturally, I dismissed the idea easily, for I didn’t actually want to do it, but part of me wanted to release the extreme upset caused by certain others.

You know what I mean?

Anyway, so I don’t get to coach the boys anymore – I love them dearly and I miss them already, and this was a conversation I was expecting to be having one day soon… and I am glad that it is over and done with now…

Yes, total heartbreak for me.

No, not the end of the world.

Just the end of this part of it…

And, the reason I want to call this one a win, even though it definitely doesn’t feel like it at present, is because I accept that this is a clear sign from God and the Universe that something else is coming for me… I had to be removed by shock from the place and state and situation of dis-ease – because there was just too much unease for me in that place, despite the fact that I felt so much love from the lacrosse folks – so that I would make a change in my life to develop something infinitely better in my life and with my life.

As I said to myself earlier today, I have so much to offer, and that just wasn’t the best situation for me to offer myself and my life fully – something better will arise, now that it has the space to do so.

Now that I did not have that time commitment, I have loads of time open for something else, something better… something more specifically tailored to using my skills and God-given talents to serve the world, to be God in the world around me, to let my light of God within shine and have it inspire those around me… this little light of mine has been growing, and it is starting to burn like a fiery blaze… not everyone is ready for that yet, so I must find whoever is ready for it.

And that’s what I’m contemplating tonight, as I file my teeth aligners and prepare for bed on this beautiful Friday night that everyone else seems to be out celebrating (but I have to be up really early tomorrow morning, so I can go earn some money for this insane life I seem to be leading). 😛

Anyway…

Let’s roast some marshmallows, y’all… this fire is ready.

🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Swimstress

(Pronounced much like seamstress, but just a different first set of letters.)

I attended a swim meet today for little kids.

On the way over, I was discussing on the phone with my aunt my own swim team days, and how stressful they always were for me – a fact which I had rather forgotten entirely until the discussion today.

I wasn’t concerned in any way, of course, but instead excited to be attending the meet and finally not being one swimming in it.

While watching the little kids swim, however, I found myself rubbing genuine tears from the sides of my eyes (at first, I’d thought it was just sweat, or something in my eye, but quickly discovered that they were actual tears), and not from joy or excitement.

I wished my little family members fun and luck – I hoped their swim each time went well and that they enjoyed doing it.

The parents all around me had other thoughts and ideas for their children… speed, winning, beating the other kids, going as hard and fast as they could… this is what they told the kids constantly before each heat began…

‘Go as fast as you can, okay?…, as fast as you can!’

One parent, upon hearing a coach say to a child to make sure she has fun, casually added to her just-completed long declarations of necessary speed, with a pathetic fervor, ‘Disfruta.’ (Spanish for ‘Have fun,’ or ‘Enjoy.’)

She didn’t seem too convinced that having fun was a priority, though. :/

The whole thing ended up carrying a whole sense of stress for me, and had me wondering how many children were going to struggle because of this pressure from these parents…. they aren’t even over six years old yet, and they are crying their eyes out after swimming a fabulous 25 metres, just because they didn’t win…

Now, not all the kids were like this, of course…, but there were enough to make me rather uneasy.

If it had just been the parents cheering on the kids to do their best, that would have been fabulous.

But it wasn’t that, was it?

Very few adults seemed to be cheering that way at all…., and it made me want to ask them to consider what their priorities are regarding their children and the happiness of their children.

Perhaps I’m not doing a very good job at portraying the parental cheering and commentary… it just seemed like no one encouraged the kids to do their best, even – all that mattered was going fast, according to all the parents were saying.

And odd topic for a regular Monday night swim meet, I dare say(!).

Anyway, I was able to see why on Earth I was so stressed out at swim meets as a child – there is an immense amount of rather intense pressure, most of which is literally being screamed at you as a swimmer… no wonder I totally disliked it and always felt like I was letting everyone down and failing.

Plus, compared to my older brothers, who swam first heat in their ages groups, and who often got top places in their heats, I really sucked, being in second or third (or even last heat, sometimes), and not even getting a top placement there… I had a real ball-fest whenever I received that all-too-common purple ribbon after my swim: DQ (disqualification)…

So, yeah… that was an interesting experience this evening…

Surprisingly enough, it caused a resurgence, even stronger this time, of my wanting to be a swim team coach… I don’t know why specifically, but I really want to do that somehow.

Also, if I’m ever looking to hire young people, I am so looking for kids who have been swim team coaches – boy do they handle a lot, and effectively, too… totally reliable as good hires, I say.

Anyway, I’m glad I got into swimming in college… I learned that I really love swimming laps – I can literally do it for hours and still enjoy it… I think it was just all the pressure I felt at swim meets that had me practically hate them and, by association, swimming laps itself… even though I totally admired the people who could swim lots and well.

I want to get back into that, actually… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

Weekend snob

– So, how has your weekend been?

– Well, yesterday, I went sailing, and today, I attended the Houston polo finals…. so, rather posh, I dare say…

(Totally hashtag posh, right?)

What’s funny about it, really, is that it wasn’t anything near as posh as it sounds.

The sailing was on an approximately 25-foot sailboat that belongs to a friend of a friend of a friend (technically an old coworker of the guy (super smart space engineers) my friend was dating for a while, but whom she isn’t really dating anymore, but they still sometimes do things together, like this)…

The polo match was because I’d found out about a Groupon for super discounted two-packs of tickets, and so I found a friend to go with me and live out another one of my “Pretty Woman” fantasies…

Both were quite hot and sunny, and much less interesting than they sounded at first, but were wonderful nonetheless.

And, because of them, I am able to go to bed tonight with a sense of silly giddiness at how funny life can be sometimes. 🙂

I don’t need to live that life, but it certainly is fun to have the occasional sprinkling of it here and there, and especially when I am able to share it with people I love. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Little siblings

I never had little siblings, younger brothers or sisters… I was the baby of many, and by a bit.

My eldest sister would be mistaken as my mother whenever we would go out places… eleven and a half years difference can do that.

And so, I grew up learning loads of things not to do, loads of mistakes not to bother making, because at least one of my older siblings did that thing, made that mistake, and I learned the result long before I might have considered doing any of it myself.

Therefore, I’ve always struggled to understand what it could be like, having your younger sister in grammar school or still in high school… going to their terrible school performances or sports games… my siblings were all older by a good amount, so their performances and games were always awesome to me – in my child mind, they could have been pro compared to my own performances or games at the same time.

Tonight, I ran into two old classmates who were attending the art show of their little sister… and it reminded me that people actually do that, come back to the high school because of the younger sibling… I’d forgotten.

I’d thought people only really returned to visit for themselves, see old teachers and new buildings… that sort of thing… or to work there.

As I pondered how odd that idea feels, I suddenly recalled that I actually can relate a little bit.

You see, it’s almost like I have a borrowed younger sister.

My best friend lives in England, but her youngest sister lives in Houston, and she’s in high school right now.

Though I mostly am at the school for work purposes, I occasionally arrange my schedule around seeing her or spending time with her.

For the art show tonight, I had already planned to attend it, because it is always amazing.

However, I also knew that she would be performing in it, and so made sure to arrange accordingly to be there when she performed.

I always record her performance, and send it to her sister, who, naturally, is too far to make the trip for a short little performance every time.

So, in a way, I have a borrowed little sister: my best friend’s little sister.

It’s not exactly the same as her being my real sister, because I’d have attended loads more of her events and such…, but it has enough similarities for me to be able, ever so slightly, to relate to those who have younger siblings.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

CrossFit Games

I don’t even do CrossFit, but I watched the end of the 2018 CrossFit Games today, because my brother was super excited about it, and he attended it all weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.  Not even four minutes into it, I was balling.  And, from that point onward, I continued having bouts of extreme tears all over the place until the very end of the Games.  It’s just that kind of thing.  I’ve done and been part of plenty of sports to be able to relate to so many of the feelings and situations and emotions, that I felt as though I could feel their struggles and successes.  Add the comments about how the whole goal of doing CrossFit is to be better as a person than one was yesterday, and it’s just a total tear fest.

I’m still not sure that I want to do CrossFit myself, but it was really neat to watch the nonsense that was the final round of the 2018 CrossFit Games.

Post-a-day 2018

Nostalgia in a sniff

On my evening walk today, I was struck by what I believe must have been the smell of someone’s dryer sheets.  Each time I passed it, I was brought instantly back to swim team days.  Actually, I was brought back to specific swim team evenings.  Somehow, the smell, combined with the warm air and the setting sun, reminded me of Monday night swim meets, and, more specifically, the movie nights to follow (once I was a little older).

Those movie nights are probably some of the best evenings I’ve known.  We always had dinner at this one local restaurant after every meet (I think they gave use free kids meals with our team suits on).  And then, afterward, the older kids would go over to someone’s house and watch a movie together.  Eventually, I was approved to attend movie nights, though not many my age ever went.  I just had an older brother, so I had an early in, so to speak.

At the movie nights, I had not a care in the world – swimming was behind me, and I got to hang around with my brother and other cool people.  (Hey, they were all cool in my mind, because they were older and better at swimming, and because my brother liked them, and he was totally cool.)  It was often at this one family’s house where the mother always made cookies.  I’m not sure how it happened – though it in no way surprises me – but I ended up being her helper of sorts.

We kind of only watched “Hook”, with the occasional stray to “Star Wars”, at the movie nights, even though they happened every week.  But no one seemed to mind that we watched the same thing over and over again.  (“Hook” really is a spectacular film, you know.)  Since I pretty much could quote the whole movie, I didn’t mind checking out the cookie-baking setup off in the kitchen one night.  I ended up actually making and then serving the cookies during the movie from then on out.  I went in and out of the movie, only hanging in the kitchen when I had a specific task to undertake, so I still saw most of the movie.  But I got to do something extra, fun, special, and useful, too.  Plus, everyone loved me for bringing them warm cookies that the mom and I had made.  And, what made it even more special, was that I was hanging out with my older brother and his friends – I qualified to be with them, and they weren’t opposed to my being there.  🙂

One movie night in particular, as we left the house, I felt like I was in a wonderland, because flowing white surrounded us in the warm wind – someone had wrapped the house during our movie.  Sure, it was toilet paper hanging everywhere from the trees in the front yard, but it felt like magic.  There was something about those movie nights that just made life seem easy, free, and happy.  I think that’s part of why I still love “Hook” and “Star Wars” so much, and I regularly have a desire to watch them (and always feel really special whenever I do actually watch them).

Yeah, those were really good times.  Thanks, whomever, for your dryer sheets this evening.  🙂

Post-a-day 2018